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Throne Speech Shows Manitoba Staying the Course

November 20, 2014 1:42 PM | News

Greg Selinger

Premier Greg Selinger takes questions from reporters following the delivery of the throne speech at the Manitoba legislature on Thursday, November 20, 2014. (SARAH TAYLOR / CHRISD.CA)

Philip Lee

Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee (front) takes part in a ceremonial cannon-firing outside of the Manitoba legislature prior to the reading of the throne speech on Thursday. (SARAH TAYLOR / CHRISD.CA)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and his party have ambitious plans for the province to show it’s business as usual in the government despite inner-NDP turmoil heading to a leadership race in March.

The throne speech was unveiled Thursday amid the usual pomp and circumstance, signalling the start of the fourth session of the 40th Manitoba legislature, set to run until early December.

Among the highlights are interest-free student loans, a ban on tanning bed use for minors, and an increased speed limit to 110 km/h on the Trans-Canada Highway to the Saskatchewan border.

“Manitobans have told us they want to see investments in infrastructure and more opportunities for young people without the deep cuts to front-line services proposed by others,” said Selinger. “This blueprint for the coming year will invest in education at every level and good jobs for families to ensure our kids can put down roots here at home as we grow our economy.”

The 21-page document also outlines plans for a new cancer hub in Winnipeg and a new emergency room for the Grace Hospital. Investments are also lined out for education, front-line services and health care.

Selinger also announced a cost-saving measure to reduce the number of civil service works by 600 through arbitration and retirement.

Throne speech highlights:

  • Expand the existing apprenticeship model to certify new occupations outside the traditional trades
  • Launch a new credit transfer portal to help students move more easily between programs and institutions
  • New flood protection measures for Highway 75, including the construction of a new, higher bridge at Morris
  • Upgrade the Lake St. Martin Channel and build a new outlet to flow 7,500 cubic feet per second from Lake Manitoba
  • Open new QuickCare Clinics staffed by nurse practitioners in northwest Winnipeg, St. Vital and Southdale and finalize the location of a new QuickCare Clinic in west Winnipeg
  • Expand the hours at the Urgent Cancer Care Clinic
  • Reduce the office space used by government by over 100,000-square-feet
  • Provide pet owners with up-front and all-in pricing for veterinarian services